What is Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability includes both Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) and disability benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). While SSDI is only available to wage earners who have contributed to the system by paying FICA taxes, SSI applicants do not need to have any significant work history.
To receive Social Security disability benefits, you must have a severe physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working full-time for one year or more. The SSA decides whether you are “disabled” under its own standards. It is not enough that your doctor, counselor, or even another government agency or administration thinks you are disabled. The easiest way to qualify is for your condition to meet or equal a Social Security impairment listing, but you may also qualify if you can show the SSA that you are unable to take part in meaningful employment. You should talk to a lawyer to figure out if you might qualify.